Chelsea U19s progressed to the UEFA Youth League Final in dramatic circumstances over the weekend after a nerve-biting penalty shootout against FC Porto.
There is no doubt they called on experience gained playing in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy, If their progression in Europe’s elite competition for U19s is anything to go by – not least in a situation such as a penalty shootout.
Chelsea were one of sixteen invited Under-21 teams to participate in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy – an experience that has been vital in the development of their young players and stood the Blues in good stead for future challenges.
No stranger to the pressures of a shootout, Chelsea U21’s were taken to spot kicks in three fixtures during their run to the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final – against Plymouth Argyle, Yeovil Town and Lincoln City – to further showcase the benefits of the competition.
Harvey St Clair, Trevor Chalobah and Luke McCormick were three of the five Blues youngsters to score from twelve yards, with the trio also converting in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy.
Speaking after their victory against Oxford United at the Quarter-Final stage of the Checkatrade Trophy, manager Joe Edwards said: “It’s been an invaluable competition for us and the players love it because they can feel the challenge and feel they’ve experienced something really valuable at the end of each game.
“As an Academy, we have a strong winning mentality and we try to breed that in the players but we came into the competition this year just looking forward to the challenge and the different experiences.”
Daishawn Redan and Joshua Grant were on target during the 90 minutes against FC Porto as Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw, but the experience gained in a first-team competition such as the Checkatrade Trophy proved invaluable for some of those who featured.
Chelsea U19s return to the Colvoray Stadium in Nyon to face Barcelona in this afternoon’s final, with kick-off scheduled for 4PM.
The EFL wishes them all the best in their quest to become UEFA Youth League champions.